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and form and voice ; dear, because a loving guest in the streets and cities of the sons of men :
Thou lov'st our homes : the lane-the street
And, perching on the belfry oft,
Where, motionless, thou sit'st aloft;
Thy yearly visit to our land
Leading thy rapid, feathery band,
“ịhe Stork !-Spring's messenger comes back!” Nor forgets the poetess to commemorate the traditional virtues of the humanised bird—its conjugal faithfulness, its filial piety, its parental affection-or the stories that are told of its social customs and wandering mission.
The stork, then, shall be Lila's messenger to distant climes, of the watchfulness and devotion of true love. Her messenger from shore to shore, from sea to sea-across the illumined peaks of Carmel, through the islands of the Delta, to the ruins of Persepolis, and the groves of far Japan. Her winged messenger shall speed a message of good cheer to them that doubt, of solace to them that mourn ; the message that there is no death in love_that love “hovers near the couch where wounded heroes lie”_ that no cave is too dark for love's effulgence, no spot too drear for its joy-giving light. She commits to a scroll this message of sympathy, , this evangel of hope's inner life :
One who in solitude has plann'd
A world of virtues, great and high,
To make her dream reality,
She bids awake, to sleep no more.
Then Lila-half in jest—has bound
By Lila's skilful fingers made,
Amidst the fluttering feathers laid.
Secure within that downy breast. And so, with a fond farewell, she dismisses her bird-angel- with a sanguine au revoir rather, for she looks to see her again, with written proof (by another hand) beneath her wings, that the message has been Godsped—that the bread of life she thus casts upon the winds has been found, and fed on, gratefully, effectually, after many days.
And when, borne far from shore to shore,
My joyous message thou hast spread,
And tell my heart how thou hast sped. Return she never does; but Lila's message meets strange accomplishment even in the messenger's death. The Stork is cut short in her flight ; but not in vain has been the beating of her wings, as one that beateth the air.
The machinery of the tale that opens with the flight of the Stork is just sufficiently complex to prevent our attempting to detail it in the brief space that now remains to us--a circumstance by no means to be deplored, but the reverse, as we are thus arrested in the pernicious practice of skeletonising, in prosy Barebones's style, what to be appreciated and enjoyed should be seen in its original living form. How, therefore, when the “first dry leaves are borne away from the tall linden's verdant crown,” the Stork calls forth her armies to retreat from the icy North, and Lila, as the last swift wing sweeps by, fancies she can yet descry her favourite amidst the wild array,—how " the shade of all these snowy flocks” now overcasts the lonely Danube, now the foamy Inn, now the gold domes and rose-hued towers of Venice—how the plains of Asia are reached by the emigrants, and Lila's truant builds her second nest in a paradise of solitude on Syria's strand-how the boy Youssouf slays
the sainted bird that came
The Arab's home and care to claim, and his mother wails and the scheik Khalid applauds the deed-how Khalid reads the scroll, and accepts the message with tremulous joy, as a leaf from Eden borne across waste waters by sacred dove,--how war with Russia engages Khalid in the field, and Lila in the soldiers' hospitalhow she that sent the message and he that received it, are brought together again, under happier auspices and in the peaceful fatherland of them both,—this to understand and enjoy, the Lay of the Stork itself must be scanned line upon line, not torn and tattered as in a Magazine notice, here a little and there a little, off at a tangent, tantalisinglissimo! A gentle and intelligent reader assumed, as 'tis at once our great right and pleasant duty to assume,—the least that reader can do is to get the Lay of the Stork forthwith from Mudie's or other nescio cujus library (club, circulating, country-town, or what not); that is the least ; but the best were, to have in this instance a soul above borrowing, and to buy outright so pleasant and pure a Lay, that merits right well, on the mere score of outward show, a conspicuous place on the drawing-room table, and, for that within which passeth show, a near and dear one in the sanctuary of the heart.
TOM ELLIOT'S PRIZE.
you are in it."
I. MRS. AGATHA NEEDHAM had lived in her house in the good old city of Nearford all her life, which was by no means a definite number of years, her own register saying forty-nine, and that of her baptism sixtythree. A niece of Mrs. Agatha's (she was a maiden lady, and only “Mrs.” by courtesy) was the wife of a country clergyman, and one of that lady's sons, a medical student, came to Nearford to be an inmate of Mrs. Agatha's, whilst he "improved ” himself under Mr. Dicks, an eminent surgeon, attached to Nearford Infirmary. Mrs. Agatha, in correspondence with his parents, had stipulated, before she would admit him, for his observing certain conditions—that he would never smoke, would never speak to her two maid-servants, except in her presence, would always be in by ten o'clock at night, and in bed by half-past. To all of which Mr. Thomas Elliot vowed obedience, and said they were the exact rules he had laid down for himself. So Mrs. Agatha consented to receive him, and he arrived. A dashing young man of twenty-one, showy in dress, free in manner, but the pink of quiet propriety in the presence of Mrs. Agatha. He speedily became popular in Nearford, and Mrs. Agatha grew intensely proud of him.
· My dear Thomas,” she exclaimed to him, one morning at breakfast, “ what an extraordinary smell of tobacco-smoke pervades the house when
“It does, ma'am ; it's highly disagreeable. Nearly makes me sick sometimes."
“But what can it proceed from, Thomas ?” pursued Mrs. Agatha, sniffing very much over her muffin. “You assure me you do not smoke.”
“ I smoke !" echoed Mr. Tom—“I touch a filthy cigar! It comes from my clothes.”
“ How does it get into them ?” wondered Mrs. Agatha.
“They are such a set, aunt, at that infirmary-have cigars in their mouths from morning till night. Sometimes I can't see across our dissecting-room for the smoke. Of course my clothes get impregnated with it.” Dear me, Thomas, how sorry
I for you ! But don't talk about dissecting-rooms, if you please. The smell must also get into your eyes, and hair, and whiskers ?”
“So it does, uncommon strong. But I douse my head into the big basin in a morning, and that takes it off.”
“ The governors of the infirmary ought to be reported to the lordlieutenant,” cried Mrs. Agatha, warmly. “I never heard of anything so shameful. How can they think of permitting the patients to smoke ?”
“It's not the patients, aunt,” returned Mr. Tom, smothering a grin. “ What should bring them into the dissecting-room: unless-ahem!they are carried there ?"
- Then is it the doctors ?” “ No: it's the pupils.” “Misguided youths!" ejaculated Mrs. Agatha. “And you have to VOL. XXXIX.
associate with them! Never you learn smoking, my dear Thomas. But about this smell ; I really don't know what is to be done. The maids commence coughing whenever they enter your bedroom, for the fumes of smoke there, they tell me, are overpoweringly strong." “ Ah, I know they are. It's where all my clothes hang."
Suppose you were to get some lumps of camphor, and sew them in your pockets,” suggested Mrs. Needham. “If it keeps fevers from the frame, it may keep tobacco-smoke from clothes. Get sixpen'orth, Thomas.”
“ I'll get a shilling's worth,” said Tom. “Though I fear its properties don't reach smoke."
“Oh, Thomas, I forgot.. Did you hear the noise in the house last night ?! “Noise ?" responded Mr. Tom.
“A noise on the stairs, like somebody bumping up them. It was just two o'clock, for I heard the clock strike. When Rachel came to dress me this morning, she said it must have been Minny racing after the mice. But I never heard her make such a noise before. I hope it did not disturb you ?"
“ Not at all, aunt," answered Tom, burying his face in his handkerehief ; “I never woke till half an hour ago. Cats do make an awful noise sometimes. I'm off to the infirmary."
“ And you have eaten no breakfast! I can't think what the lad lives upon.”
In the hall, as Mr. Thomas was dashing across it, he encountered the housemaid, a pretty girl with cherry cheeks.
“ Look here, sir,” she said—“look what we picked up this morning. If mistress had found it instead of me and cook, whatever would you have done?"
“My latch-key! I must have dropped it when I came in, in the night, and never missed it. But after a punch jollification, following on a tripe supper, one's perceptive faculties are apt to be obscured. That's a fact undisputed in physics, Rachel, my dear.”. And as Tom dropped the latch-key into his pocket, he acknowledged his obligation to the finder in a way of his own.
“ Now, Mr. Thomas," remonstrated Rachel, “I have threatened fifty times that I'd tell missis of you, and now I will. You want to get me out of my place, sir, going on in this way.”
“ Do,” cried Tom, “ go and tell her at once. And harkee, my dear, if you and cook get talking to the old lady about the smoke in my bedroom, I'll shoot the first of you I come near. You should put the windows and door open.”
Just as the incorrigible Tom walked off, Mrs. Agatha Needham opened the breakfast-room door, and down dropped the maid upon her hands and knees, and began rubbing away at the oilcloth.
“Rachel ! was that my nephew? Talking to you!"
“ Talking to, ma'am ? Oh, I remember; he asked about his umbrella. I think he must have left it at the infirmary, or at Mr. Dicks's.”
“ Asking a necessary question. I will look over," said Mrs. Agatha,
“but should he ever show a disposition to speak with you upon indifferent subjects, you will come off straight to me, and report him, Rachel; for it is not allowed.”
“i Very well, ma'am.”
From the above specimen of Mr. Tom Elliot, it may be wondered how he contrived to remain an inmate of Mrs. Agatha Needham's, and continue in that lady's good graces. It was a marvel to Tom himself, and he was wont to say, in that favourite resort, the dissecting-room, that though he had got on the ancient maiden's blind side, he had more trouble than enough to keep himself there.
One day sundry of the infirmary pupils were assembled in the abovementioned choice retreat. A looker-on might have described them as being rather “jolly.” There were seven of them : four had short pipes in their mouths, and the three others cigars, and they were smoking away with all their might; Mr: Tom Elliot being amongst them ; while some pewter pots of beer stood on the table.
“ How did old Moss come out last night?” inquired one, with a shock head of very red hair; as: he sat on a deal table and kicked' his feet against a neighbouring wall: “Old Moss” being a botanist, who was then giving lectures in the city, which the infirmary pupils were expected to attend.
« What's the good of asking me?" responded Tom Elliot. the pot, Jones.”.
" I'd got a better engagement; and didn't show," resumed the first speaker. “Were you not there either, Elliot ?"
“ I just was there. And got jammed close to two of the loveliest girls I ever saw in all
life. One of 'em is a prize.” " I say,” cried Davis, one of the oldest of the pupils, those girls Tom Elliot's raving about?”
“Who's to know? There were fifty girls in the room. Very likely they were the Thompsons."
Annihilate the Thompsons !" interrupted Elliot; "the one's crosseyed, and the other's sickly. D'ye think I don't know the Thompson girls ? These were strangers. At least, I have never seen their faces at lectures before."
“ Whereabouts did your two beauties sit?"
“ About half-way up the room, on the left-hand side," responded Tom. “Close underneath the astronomical map."
“I know!" shouted a youngster. “They had got a big fat duenna between them, hadn't they?".
“ Just so, little Dobbs. In a scarlet hat.” "A scarlet hat!" echoed Davis.
"Or a turban," added Elliot: "might be meant for one or the other. A glaring red cone, three feet high.”
“Over a flaxen wig, which she puts in papers and makes believe it's her own hair,” rejoined little Dobbs. “It's their aunt."
"You insignificant monkey--their aunt !” broke forth Elliot. “If you don't tell the name without delay, I'll dissect you. You see I'm expiring under the suspense." * I don't think much of the girls myself,” persisted the young gentle
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